When Jemma Franses took a sabbatical from work in 2014, flew to Paris to experience a new culture and learn a new language, she could never have foreseen where her life was headed.

After a month of working in sales for Desigual and attending the Berlitz language school to learn French in Paris 1er arrondissement, she was spotted by a film director one evening at a book launch she’d been invited to by an old school friend for Chercheurs D’Or by Mamedy Doucara.

It was on that evening her life took a whole new direction as she was catapulted into castings and auditions in French – something she hadn’t previously entertained the idea of.

“Ironically, if you’d asked me as a four-year-old what I wanted to do when I grow up, I’d always responded that I wanted to be an actress in the cinema,” says Jemma. “I just never thought that I’d actually do it!”

Four weeks after that initial audition she was invited to a casting at L’Oréal Paris’ head office as they were searching for a bilingual actress. After securing that audition she was on set just three weeks later at L’Oréal for a two day film shoot.

“I’d never been so happy to wake up at 5am in order to wash my hair,”

Jemma giggles.

Since that day, Jemma has enjoyed a successful career as an actress working mainly on foreign, French, and American or European characters.

“My albeit short acting career has always seen me in films outside of the UK. I think as I now speak fluent French, was living in Paris and not looking like your typical English Rose with my olive skin tone and Middle Eastern roots, it was just easier for me to work in European films.”

“However I’ve always wanted to act in British films or at least play a British character and I’ve always wanted to write my own screenplay. All it took was some encouragement from my dear friend, fellow actor and co-star Peter Lamarque (Anna and Valerian by Luc Besson), for me to take the plunge.

’We were at a film premier in Paris and were chatting into the early hours when I finally decided that this was my time.”

Jemma went back to her apartment that night and with pen in hand within an hour her first ever screenplay ‘She’ was born.

In May of this year, after her aunt Louise who lived in Paris lost her battle with cancer, Jemma decided to enter her short film into several different festivals.

“My aunt and I were very close when I lived in Paris and it was thanks to her that we were able to shoot the film as her apartment, which had stopped in time, was the ideal location and she gladly opened her doors to the film crew and I," explains Jemma, who still works at the family business, Bournemouth's Franses Jewellers, in between acting and writing.

"I invited her to act a cameo role as the secretary, which she was more than happy to play as she observed the story unfolding as we filmed, with her watching from the edge of her sofa as each member of the crew worked relentlessly during the 18hr film shoot.

"When Louise passed away earlier this year, hearing her play her role in the film as I watched it back brought me so much comfort at a time when I felt broken having said goodbye to her for the final time."

A few weeks later, in May of this year, Jemma sent the film to several festivals and just three days later received an email announcing that ‘She’ was a finalist at New Filmmaker Festival New York.

‘She’ has since been nominated for eight different festivals, six of them as finalists in Los Angeles, New York, California, Cannes, London’s Pinewood Studios and Redding.